Pay Raise, TRICARE Changes, and More: What Made the Cut in This Year’s NDAA

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Most relevant to us from this article from MOAA are the following sections:

Temporary one-year halt to military medical billet cuts: This NDAA requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluation on the DoD analyses used to support any reduction or realignment of military medical manning. DoD is also required to report to Congress on the number of uniformed and civilian personnel assigned to a military treatment facility (MTF) as of Oct. 1, 2019, and a comparable accounting as of Sept. 30, 2022. If the number in 2022 is less than the number in 2019, DoD must provide a full explanation for the reduction to demonstrate compliance with past provisions halting medical billet cuts.

Pay raise: A 2.7% raise for servicemembers keeps pace with the Employment Cost Index (ECI), but does not address the 2.6% gap behind ECI from previous years. The House Rules Committee asked the House Armed Services Committee to look for further increases in the next NDAA, given concerns over junior enlisted family financial problems.

Enhanced parental leave: Primary and secondary caregivers for the birth, adoption, or long-term foster placement of a child will be authorized up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave. This is a significant increase for Navy and Marine Corps secondary caregivers, who currently only have two weeks of parental leave.

FY21 Special Leave Accrual Approved

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The full NAVADMIN can be found here.

Special Leave Accrual Update

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From My Navy HR information on Special Leave Accrual (SLA) and a Use-Lose Calculator.



REF/A/DOC/USD Memo: Special Leave Accrual Dated 16 Apr 2020// 

REF/B/DOC/ MILPERSMAN 1050-070 Dated 22 Jan 2010//

NARR/REF A is a memo from the Under Secretary of Defense which 

authorized  Special Leave Accrual due to COVID-19.

REF B is MILPERSMAN 1050-070 for Special Leave Accrual.//





Many Sailors carry a Special Leave Accrual (SLA) balance on their Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).  It is important to understand DFAS leave accounting and SLA rules, including:    

   a. In 2020, due to COVID, OSD approved COVID SLA for any member who had more than 60 days of leave as of 30 September 2020.  Your number of SLA days was established on 30 September 2020 and is the difference between Combat Zone LV Carryover Balance on your LES and the authorized maximum leave carryover balance (60 days).

   b. Regular leave earned during FY2021 (1 October 2020 thru 30 September 2021) is *NOT* protected and could be lost if not used by 30 September 2021.  As of May 2021, OSD has not authorized SLA for fiscal year (FY) 21.  

   c. COVID SLA will be forfeited if not used by 30 September 2023. If your SLA balance has decreased since October 1, 2020, it is because leave accountability operates on a Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) basis.  When you take leave, DFAS charges the leave days you most recently earned.  For example, if you take 5 days of leave in April, the charged days will be from those you earned in April and March.   

So far, in this FY21, as of 1 April 2021, Sailors have earned 17.5 days of leave.  If you used more leave than the 17.5 you have earned so far this FY, DFAS will subtract the amount over 17.5 from your SLA balance.  This will permanently reduce your SLA balance and cannot be re-earned.

If you have an SLA balance, and you want to keep it, you need to understand the LIFO leave accounting system.   If you are going to separate/retire in the next two years, and you want to save those extra SLA days for terminal leave, you need to be mindful on how you take leave between now and when you separate/retire.  

Leave provides much needed respite from the arduous nature of the military and remains a crucial part of the Navy’s effort to build and maintain resilient Sailors.  As we continue to face global travel challenges during this pandemic, Commanders are encouraged to allow Sailors to use their leave wherever possible and as the mission allows.

“Your “COVID-19” SLA is identified in the remarks section of your LES as COMBAT ZONE LV CARRYOVER BAL = XX.XX.  If your leave balance will exceed your current combat leave carry over balance (as stated in the remarks section of your LES) on 30 SEP 2021, you will lose excess days unless you fall under a qualifying circumstance for traditional SLA (please see below).  It is important to check the balance of your combat leave carryover in the remarks sections of your LES every month as it may change after taking leave.  You may also use the attached guide to help you manage your “COVID-19” SLA and Use/Lose balance on a monthly basis.  Thank you!  

Other Qualifying Circumstances to Request SLA for FY-21 (not in connection with COVID-19)

MILPERSMAN 1050-070 specifies circumstances for when Sailors may be eligible for SLA not in connection with COVID-19.  Members who meet any of the qualifying criteria below since 1 OCT 2019 may be eligible for traditional SLA.

–        Member served on active duty for a continuous period of at least 120 days in an area in which they are continuously entitled to hostile fire or imminent danger pay.

–        Member served in a deployable ship, mobile unit, or similar duty AND operates away from its designated home port or home base for a continuous period of at least 60 days, thus preventing normal use of earned leave before it is lost at the end of the FY.

–        Member served in a deployable ship, mobile unit, or similar duty, permanently home ported or home based OUTSIDE of the 50 united Sates, which is required to maintain a higher than normal condition of readiness in port or at home base AND have deployed or operated away from home port or home base more than 50 percent of the time, thus preventing normal use of earned leave before it is lost at the end of the FY.” 

Bottom Line:

If you take more leave than you earn in a fiscal year, the unearned days are going to be deducted from your SLA balance until your SLA is exhausted.   Pay attention to your LES.  If your SLA balance has decreased and your EOY Leave Balance has not, this means you have taken more leave than you have earned which could throw off your use/loss calculations for the remainder of the year.  The USD memo has no effect on REF B which already allows for SLA for units that qualify.  Note:  The maximum amount of leave that can be sold is 60 days and is statutory law.  

OPNAV N130, Pay and Allowances.

Here is a potentially useful file:

Here’s a webpage:


November Sailor 2 Sailor Newsletter

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This newsletter has some pertinent info discussing ROM not being chargeable as leave as well as procedures if you or a family member test positive for COVID during a PCS:

Leave and Liberty now Exempt from COVID Travel Restrictions

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By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs. ,

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Effective immediately, leave and liberty outside the local area of your command is exempt from ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved the leave exemption for all military on June 29. The Navy’s rules for implementation came in NAVADMIN 189/20 on July 2.

Approval authority for leave outside of the local area will be determined by the echelon 2 commander. Delegation of that authority can not be lower than the unit commanding officer, officer-in-charge or equivalent — Branch Head, Division Director, etc.

All other guidance for transitioning from a stop movement to a conditions-based phased approach to personnel movement and travel, remains in place.

“Commanders and supervisors will conduct a risk assessment of the health status and travel itinerary for personnel requesting leave or liberty outside the local area,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s top uniformed official in the message.

Commands also have the responsibility of reviewing a Sailor’s travel plans to verify they have a plan to both keep themselves safe, as well as ensure they don’t become a vector of infection when they return.

Sailors should not go on leave or liberty out of the local area if they have a fever or display any other symptoms that could indicate COVID-19 infection. In addition, Sailors should not travel if they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus within the past 14 days.

Before departure, commands must establish with their travelers a means of reliable communication. This allows for quick access for reacting to any circumstances that arise during leave or liberty.

While traveling away from their home area, Navy Service members must comply with any Department of Defense, federal, state, or local restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

The latest DoD policies are at https://www.defense.gov/explore/spotlight/coronavirus.

120 Day Special Leave Accrual for Service Members

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Today, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew Donovan signed a department-wide authorization for service members to accrue and retain an additional leave balance of up to 120 days. The department’s actions to stem the spread of COVID-19 has significantly limited the ability of service members to take leave during this national emergency, and we know that leave is vital to the health and welfare of our force.

The memo can be found here.